How much should I avoid localization

Who is my audience? I started writing my first instructable and hardly got two sentences written before I found myself assuming everyone is in the United States. For instance if want to say some fabric costs $4.50/yard at Wal-Mart, that's potentially 3 things not everybody can immediately understand: the dollars, the almost exclusively American unit of measure, and a store that's not in every country. Should I just say it, or should try to translate. i.e. The fabric costs about USD $4.92 per meter at local discount stores. There must be a middle ground, but my strong Aspie craving for exact specifications makes me ask here before getting started.

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I personally think that the Big Mac Index is great for a rough guide. (google Big Mac Index) Extra calculations required of course. I'm not sure what the symbol is but I think it should be something like bM 'cause the first time I ordered a big mac in the States I was shocked at how small it was ......
japanesegeta (author)  Karroo Oakey8 years ago
I hadn't heard of that before. In the sixties, I had a friend who used to travel a lot and he used the local price of a bottle of Coca Cola, 10cents at the time, as his quick guide to how much a peso/franc/yen could  buy.

I do feel tempted to use odd units at times -- you know, stuff like speed in furlongs per fortnight. You can measure short intervals in MIBs, that's about 1/4 second, determined as the time between the light turning green and the person behind you honking their horn, MIB=Move It Buddy!
:-D  That's good, I really need to be able to use that time measurement on my kids!

Personally I think that the whole world should be on one unit of currency, perhaps that is what everyone who lives in a weak currency country believes.
In about  '89-'90 I bought a packet of Chesterfield cigarettes at Jan Smuts International airport (Johannesburg in those days) just before flying to the UK to work for a while. I paid One Rand Seventy Two Cents which was the going price at the time. I searched all over London for the 'right' brand of smokes finally tracking down Chesterfields in Victoria Station ( perhaps it was my imagination but they didn't taste the same). Anyway they cost  £1.72
Since the exchange rate at the time was about 8-1 that bloody little packet cost me approximately R13.76
I was so ticked off!
NachoMahma8 years ago
.  As long as it's not confusing (francs per firkin), use whatever units you are most comfortable with. Almost all scientific publications use metric, but DIY can be rather unscientific at times. For money, USD, GBP, and Euro all seem to be widely accepted.
.  It would be nice if you included conversions where appropriate. Eg, "use a 1 inch (2.5 cm) rod", or "weigh out 1 Kg (2.2 lb)". Monetary conversions change often, but still handy to give, if only for an approximation.
.  I'm betting that everyone that visits this site know that Wal-Mart is a large department store and will know the local equivalent. If you need to refer to a smaller, less known chain, be sure to include a generic description (eg, R/C hobby parts).
Just write in the units you are most familiar with. People using other units know best how to convert to their units. Should you make a mistake in conversation, it will be so much harder for the builder of your Instructable to work out what went wrong. When they convert, they will understand the fractions because conversion never come out exact round figures. And anyway most projects are not built exactly according to a Instructable, everybody adds their own ideas and modifications and materials on hand. The idea is, you are part of a Think Tank, your project will keep resurfacing as new Instructables with new improved features. Think of your Instructable as being ideas, and not so much units of measurement. And besides the USA is behind the world, the rest of the world is metrics, more than one NASA space probe has been lost, because the European builder worked in metric while NASA still thinks in old fashioned inches. Let them worry about it, you just publish your ideas.
JrRRr8 years ago
But what about the units? If I make an Instructable with measurements in cm and mm, will this upset the American audience? Should I write the measurements converted in brackets? Like 200cm x 80cm (78 3/4" by 31 1/2") There's also the number of decimals to consider, and (although I might seem to have figured it out in my example) I'm not fully accustomed to the 1/2, 3/4 etc. There are also bound to be errors popping up every now and then..
"go buy fabric" there ya go!
lemonie8 years ago
It doesn't really matter what things cost - people are not very likely to buy exactly the same thing unless they have to. Post what it cost you and qualify it as "cheap" "not too expensive "expensive" etc? L